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Save the Children warns of deadly consequences for children following new relocation orders for families in Rafah

GAZA, 6 May 2024 - Time has run out to protect children in Rafah with the looming ground assault forcing hundreds of thousands to flee and impeding aid efforts in Gaza’s ‘last refuge’, Save the Children said.

On Monday 6 May Israeli forces issued relocation orders demanding civilians in eastern Rafah to flee to the Israeli-designated so called ‘humanitarian zone’ in Al-Mawasi, which is reportedly simultaneously being enlarged. At the same time, the orders urge civilians not to move to Gaza City and Wadi Gaza area, leaving people with no options.

The orders follow a night of intense bombardment in Rafah, killing at least 22 people including eight children. Also last night, attacks on the Kerem Shalom crossing reportedly killed 3 people. There has been no coordination between Israeli authorities and aid agencies via formal humanitarian coordination structures prior to the reported expansion of the so-called ‘humanitarian zone' in Al-Mawasi.

Gemma Sherrington, Interim CEO at Save the Children UK, said:

“People in Rafah have nowhere safe to go. These aren't just our words, but those of the Foreign Secretary, who has repeatedly said how concerned he is about an incursion into Rafah. This is where we find out if that concern adds up to anything at all.

“For children in Gaza, this offensive could be the deadliest and most destructive chapter of the conflict yet. They need actions, not words.

“The UK must do everything in its power to stop the incursion from happening, including suspending arms sales to Israel, and demanding an immediate and definitive ceasefire.”

Save the Children has been providing essential services and support to Palestinian children since 1953. Save the Children has put all possible measures in place to support its staff, keep them safe, and keep supporting children and families across the Gaza Strip. However, these options are limited by the conduct of hostilities - nowhere is safe in Gaza, including for our staff and partners.


Notes to Editors

[1] To abide by the absolute prohibition of forcible transfer and deportation of civilians under international humanitarian law, Israel is obliged to take “all possible measures” to provide evacuated civilians with essential necessities for survival and guarantees of a safe and dignified return once hostilities end. Such measures include ensuring adequate safety and protection, shelter, water, sanitation, healthcare, and nutrition. As of today, no such place inside Gaza exists.